After The Lime Truck won Season 2 of The Great Food Truck Race in 2011, Jason Quinn left to open The Playground, a contemporary bar and restaurant in downtown Santa Ana. Quinn is an unabashed chef. The Playground has an unbending no substitutions, no modifications rule, and he’s been known to berate Yelpers for feedback he deems low blows. But Chowhound Porthos thinks Quinn’s menu “can hang with anything LA has to offer.” You may have to play by the rules, but obedience is rewarded by delicious food.

The best dishes js76wisco tasted recently included pork belly steamed buns with guacamole, and Santa Barbara sea urchin with jalapeño, lime, and mignonette. A succulent fried Cornish game hen was among the best versions of fried chicken js76wisco has ever tasted. And roasted cauliflower with cilantro and lime was another win. “One of the best beer menus for a restaurant,” says js76wisco, who tried four brews and liked them all. The wine selection is more limited, but there’s no corkage fee so hey, feel free to bring your own.

The Playground [Orange County]
220 E. Fourth Street, Santa Ana

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Photo from The Playground / Facebook

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